The Barefoot Surgeon (Allen & Unwin), by Ali Gripper
This is the story of a boy from the lowest tiers of a rigid caste system who grew up in a small, remote Himalayan village with no school, to become one of the most respected ophthalmologists in the world and a medical giant of Asia. Dr Sanduk Ruit took on the world’s medical establishment to give the life-changing gift of sight to hundreds of thousands of the world’s poorest and most isolated people. Actor Richard Gere is just one of the good doctor’s fans: “I’ve known Dr Sanduk Ruit for over 30 years. He is one of our greatest living eye surgeons and humanitarians … watching him give the gift of sight is like watching someone give a second life.” Ruit’s mentor was Australian doctor Fred Hollows (whose foundation has a presence in PNG) and it is no coincidence that both men chose to defy the world’s medical establishment, and its lure of riches, to offer the wealth of sight to those in need.